The party season is upon us and there are many temptations out there to spoil your health & fitness goals. But you can fully enjoy the Christmas holidays with friends and family by following a few simple guidelines. You can relax the rules without feeling you’re going to start from scratch again in January.
I’m often asked for my advice regarding staying healthy and in shape over Christmas. How can you avoid going over-board and still enjoy eating and drinking with friends?
Here are my few simple rules to help keep you on track this holiday season:
As with everything, planning ahead is vital. If you’re eating out, don’t starve yourself all day so that you can afford to eat more. This is counterproductive. You will probably make the wrong choices and eat too much and maybe spoil your night. Eat a substantial meal 4 or 5 hours before going out.
Before eating / drinking, ask yourself ‘how will this make me feel?’, ‘will I regret this in the morning?’
You don’t need to shop as if the stores will be closed for a month!
If your worst temptations are not in the house, then you won’t be tempted. You don’t need to buy absolutely everything in case you’re left short if people call round. The shops are only closed for about 24 hours anyway!
Stock up on health snacks so you can make better choices when you’re feeling peckish
The healthy snacks to keep to hand are: home-made dips like guacamole or hummus, vegetable sticks (carrots, cucumber, celery); seasonal fruit – berries, plums, peaches, apples, pear, kiwi, oranges, prunes; unsulphured dried apricots/figs, live natural yoghurt; dark chocolate, rice cakes with nut butter; apple slices with hazelnut butter, or raw food energy power balls or your favourite low sugar protein bar. Protein drinks are also a great snack
Regarding alcohol, the least harmful choices are Red wine and clear spirits (vodka, gin, Bacardi). Beer is very high in ‘empty’ calories that will convert to fat very quickly (the term ‘beer belly’ is true!)
Keep hydrated, particularly if you are drinking alcohol. Maybe drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink. This will help flush out toxins and help prevent a hangover
Don’t be afraid to say no. Just because someone offers you a snack / drink don’t feel you should take it just to be polite. If you’d rather not have it, don’t.
RELAX THE RULES
If you normally work out 3 or 4 times per week, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve this for one week of the year.
Do as many of your normal workouts as you can without stressing yourself out or missing out on joining your friends and family for get-togethers
If you can’t get to the gym, do a simple body weight workout at home; HIIT training is excellent and you a great workout in 15 / 20 minutes!
Incorporate exercise into your festive activities; join your family / friends in a hill walk or walk on the beach.
Going for a walk in nature will help rejuvenate the mind as well as the body
Take the free time to do something different. Do something you’ve been saying you would like to do for a while. Or is there something you haven’t done in a while but would like to? Ice skating; bowling, hill-walking?
Take a good multi nutrient that’s high in antioxidants such as Cell Rejuvenation Mix (available at Lifegym; http://www.lifegym.ie/products/cell-rejuvenation-mix-240/ )
This will strengthen your immune system and help you prevent getting ill over the break. It may also help reduce the negative effects of over indulging in food and alcohol.
Also, it is the holidays, so have fun and Merry Christmas!